WN4: Ditch, dyke and rhine creation

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the ditch, dyke and rhine creation item.

How much will be paid

£8.40 per metre.

Where to use this item

Available for Higher Tier

Only in combination with one of the following management options:

Where this item cannot be used

To create ditches that will lead to waterlogged land being drained or archaeological features being dried out.

How this item will benefit the environment

It aims to establish raised water levels to help restore or create habitats.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • create a channel 70cm to 100cm deep, creating a variety of depths in it and grading to a shallow, wet marginal fringe
  • make sure that the bank slope profile varies along the length of the ditch (most slopes should be between 30 and 45 degrees)
  • create berms along the sides of the ditch
  • place the excavated material on top of the bank or in the field next to it, making sure it does not fill hollows or low areas
  • make sure the excavated material is not placed on historic or archaeological features
  • spread the spoil thinly to prevent a spoil bank from forming

The agreement will set out what must not be done. It is likely agreement holders will not be allowed to:

  • fill hollows or low areas within the field with spoil
  • place spoil on historic or archaeological features

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Higher Tier manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

Before applying for this item applicants should contact the Environment Agency.

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • copies of advice and relevant consents received from the Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Board or Historic England
  • photographs before works commence

The detailed requirements for this item will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Higher Tier applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

Agreement holders should aim to create ditches, rhines or dykes that are characteristic of the local landscape.

Further information

See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.
  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.
  3. First published.